Twelve Foot Ninja are a band who had been long awaited to grace the hallowed fields of Donington. It was to the collective disappoint of several thousand people that their debut Download Festival performance was sadly limited to three songs due to mounting technical difficulties.
A few hours prior to this, Rock Sins was very fortunate to be able to catch up with Twelve Foot Ninja vocalist Kin, who was in fine form discussing the festival, the band’s views on streaming, a new album and plenty more. Over to Kin!
This is Jamie and I’m here with Kin from Twelve Foot Ninja, how are you doing sir?
Kin: Very well! Thanks very much, how are you doing?
Rock Sins: Very well – looking forward to seeing you guys here.
Kin: Well that’s great, I’m looking forward to seeing you later too *laughs*
This is your first time at Download UK, what did you think when you heard you’d got the booking?
Kin: We were excited beyond belief. Our balls collectively shot up into our stomachs. We’ve been talking about playing Download for years so for it to actually finally be happening is fucking surreal.
Having played Download Australia, there must be a few differences with Donington and the one back home apart from just the mud.
Kin: Yes! *laughs* A little bit dustier, a little bit more comfortable because obviously that’s home for us and we’re visitors here. We literally only just got here so its hard to make too much of a comparison just yet.
RS: Did anyone tell you to bring wellies?
Kin: You know, they did…….and we didn’t bring them! Yeah…we were told to prepare and we are so unprepared…laughs
This is your first trip to the UK since 2017 if we’re not mistaken, do you find the UK as a whole a place that is very receptive to what you guys do?
Kin: Yes it is, there’s a connection to the UK that I can’t really explain. The first ever show that we played here at the Camden Barfly was sold out, a packed house, so much so that even the ceiling was sweating. That’s quite a sight to see, we certainly weren’t expecting that level of reaction on our first trip, everyone was so receptive and singing along with every word. I fell in love with the UK on that night. Every show we’ve ever done here has been brilliant.
With the way Twelve Foot Ninja have released music there’s been quite a distinct gap each time, and its been fairly consistent, and if you were to follow that pattern then there might be something in the fairly near future?
Kin: *Smiles* – I see where you’re going with this! Yes there will be new music before the end of the year. Everyone is getting a little bit itchy, we’re not 100% sure how the rollout is going to be, perhaps early next year as a complete package. But there will be new material before the end of the year, probably a polyester / elastane blend. So look out for that!
What do you make of the way things have gone in more recent times with the streaming world, do you think its been beneficial or do you view it more of a double edged sword?
Kin: It is a double edged sword, no doubt. But this is the new frontier. I think its something we’ve really only embraced with one arm, going forward I think we have to embrace it with both. We’re old schoolers man, we were teenagers in the nineties and it was very different back then. It was about ownership and having the album in your hands and the cover artwork and reading the lyrics while listening to an album, those sorts of things. It wasn’t as disposable back then. There’s always been disposability in music but not like now. Now you’re a thing for a minute and something else comes along in the next minute. That’s just the way it is. We’ve been talking about the best way to adapt to that. Hopefully we will.
RS: If your strategy turns out to be anywhere near as adaptable as your music I think you’ll be fine.
Kin: I hope so *laughs*. I just think it has to do with more interactivity with your fans…. bringing them in at a ground level and kinda adopting them into the band. I think just from seeing a few other bands do it, I really think it is the best way to get a grip on the changing landscape.
Twelve Foot Ninja are a band who’ve had great success with crowdfunding in the past, is that a route you think you’d go down again?
Kin: I’m not sure at the moment, although we have been talking about using a subscription based platform. I think those are a good way to really get an insight into what we do, so they know we actually do do something in our downtime, again bringing them in at a ground floor level. We’re talking about it, at the moment everything is speculative and hypothetical. I think this Summer will be a mixture of some downtime but we do have to get this album and these songs finished. So at the same time we’ll be hatching the plan as to what to do with that album. But it’s a good place for us to be, there are a lot of options. I think if we were feeling comfortable at the moment, I’d be nervous. The fact that we’re not comfortable, we’re delving into the unknown, it means that anything is possible. It means that any way it goes, it’ll be exciting.
With the writing you’ve done so far, have you done anything different to what you’ve done with previous albums?
Kin: Similar routes yes but we have experimented with a few different things. On a couple of songs we’ve actually normalised things a bit more than we usually do. I know a lot of people who listen to us, they identify Twelve Foot Ninja as a genre-bending band for want of a better descriptor. So we have tried to contain that a little bit and to think about what would we sound like if we didn’t jump around as much? What would that be? So there are a couple of examples of that. Then we have the complete opposite side of the spectrum where we went fuck it, lets just do whatever and go crazy. So I think there will be a very balanced spectrum at either end of what we’re all about.
We’ve just got one more for you if that’s OK. The last time sometime from our website interviewed Twelve Foot Ninja was a couple of years ago. He proposed a very…particular deal for lack of a better expression. He said if he got a Twelve Foot Ninja tattoo on his balls, would that qualify as a sufficient reason to get a Shuriken guitar from you guys. He never went through with it…
Kin: I’m happy for him *laughs*. I can’t speak for Shuriken guitars myself as our guitarist Stevic MacKay is the CEO of Shuriken, I had nothing to do with it. I will say this: If he does manage to get a tattoo of our logo on his balls, he’s got a gig ticket for life.
Twelve Foot Ninja recently posted on their Facebook that they had unfortunately had to abandon plans for a European tour in late 2019 due to financial constraints. They also stated they were full steam ahead for their aforementioned as-yet untitled new album. Stay tuned to Rock Sins for further updates on Twelve Foot Ninja.